Toronto has had to wait for it – and longer than other major North American theatre markets – but its theatregoers will finally getting to see Hamilton: An American Musical.
Composer/lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical about American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton will play the Ed Mirvish Theatre from February to May of 2020, Mirvish Productions announced on Wednesday.
The seemingly unstoppable pop-culture phenomenon will be the penultimate show in a six-musical season planned for 2019-20 that also includes recent Tony winning shows such as The Band’s Visit and Hello, Dolly!
“Unquestionably, Hamilton is the show that everyone has been waiting for – and we recognize that,” Producer David Mirvish said.
Hamilton remains a very hot ticket closing in on its three-year anniversary of winning the Tony Award for best musical. It regularly grosses more than US$3-million a week on Broadway despite there also being a sit-down production in Chicago and three touring productions on the go in North America.
Current Mirvish subscribers will have a chance to renew their subscriptions starting Wednesday to guarantee a ticket to the 2020 tour stop of Hamilton – and theatregoers who want to become new Mirvish subscribers can put their names on a waiting list. The total number of subscribers to the commercial theatre company’s 2019-20 main subscription series, however, will eventually be capped at 47,000.
The date for single-ticket sales for the Toronto stop of Hamilton has not yet been announced.
The rest of the Mirvish 2019-20 season is impressive considering it would sell out on Hamilton alone. (A couple of years ago, Miranda’s musical was such a sizzling property that theatre companies in some American cities hosting the tour were selling out season subscriptions a year in advance because people wanted to have first chance at renewals.)
The Band’s Visit, composer David Yazbek’s gorgeous small-scale musical based on the Israeli film of the same name, will open the season in September at the Ed Mirvish Theatre. This little show that could won 10 Tony Awards, including best musical, in 2018.
In the same month, Piaf/Dietrich, which will see Canadian musical theatre stars Louise Pitre and Jayne Lewis play icons Édith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich, will open at the CAA Theatre. Recently seen at Montreal’s Segal Centre, the show has been adapted by Canadian playwright Erin Shields from a version that originally premiered in Germany.
Girl from the North Country, a musical based around songs by Bob Dylan by playwright Conor McPherson, will also open in the fall at the Princess of Wales Theatre. It was originally announced for the last Mirvish season, but ended up having its North American premiere first at the Public Theater in New York.
In December, Anastasia – with songs by Ragtime’s Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens – will play the Ed Mirvish Theatre. And, in March, the Mirvish main subscription season will conclude at the Princess of Wales with the tour of director Jerry Zak’s recent Tony-winning revival of Hello, Dolly! (It has recently been travelling around with Betty Buckley in the title role, but Toronto’s Dolly is TBD.)
“We want every show to count because we want subscribers to come back every year,” said Mirvish.
Mirvish audiences interested in drama, particularly of the dark variety, will have to turn to the three-show Off-Mirvish season for 2019-20.
Most notable in the lineup there is the Canadian premiere of the stage adaptation of London, Ont.-based novelist Emma Donoghue’s novel Room, which played at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre in 2017.
A newly workshopped version of this show with a English-Scottish-Canadian creative team will open with a Canadian cast at London’s Grand Theatre before coming to Toronto in March, 2020 – and there are some hopes of it having a life afterwards in New York or London. “It’s a magical and highly theatrical version of the novel: added characters, music and a beautiful design – all to emphasize the story is from the little boy’s point of view,” said Dennis Garnhum, artistic director of the Grand.
Us/Them, a play by Carly Wijs about the 2004 Beslan school siege, and Indecent, a Tony-nominated play by Paula Vogel about the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s drama God of Vengeance, round out the Off-Mirvish season.
While Hamilton’s Canadian premiere in 2020 is highly anticipated, it will also seem somewhat belated and short to some musical-theatre fans in Toronto.
Mirvish Productions not only did not secure a local sit-down production like the ones that have opened in Chicago and London, England – the touring production will arrive in Toronto after cities such as San Francisco will have already seen the show twice; it has also visited smaller markets such as Buffalo and Schenectady, N.Y.
This would seem like a major miss by Mirvish if it weren’t for the fact that business is currently booming at the commercial theatre company in a way it hasn’t in more than a decade.
A little more than six years ago, Mirvish was talking about demolishing The Princess of Wales and said he wasn’t filling his four theatres year-round.
But now, Mirvish has had to take the unprecedented step of renting a fifth theatre, the Elgin, to hold the smash held-over production of Come From Away, so that he can open a new Toronto production of Dear Evan Hansen, the 2017 Tony Winner for best musical, in the Royal Alex, in March.
Next season, all Mirvish subscription shows are programmed for The Princess of Wales, the Ed Mirvish and the smaller CAA Theatre in anticipation that Dear Evan Hansen will have a long stay there. And Come From Away’s record-breaking run for a Canadian musical in Canada could very well continue to surprise. The company sold more than 1.6 million tickets last year and, Mirvish says, he hopes to sell even more this year.